By Florence Mafomemeh
Sadio Mane at AFCON 2021 in Cameroon
Call him the pride of the nation, a national hero. All the people of Senegal would agree. But to the people of his small village of Bambali, Sadio Mane is more than that. He is their darling and jewel.
It was a very long wait but Africa’s most desired trophy finally came to Senegal. Senegalese football fans finally got the taste of victory as their Lions of Teranga finally brought home the continent’s most coveted trophy, the African Nations Cup led by their superstar striker Sadio Mane. They overcame Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 4-2 on penalties after the match finished 0-0 after extra time. Mane, who scored the winning penalty kick went on to be crowned the African Cup of Nations player of the tournament. Vincent Aboubakar won Golden Boot for most goals while Edouard Mendy won Goalkeeper of the Tournament
Vincent Aboubakar, Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy
Mane, who plays for Liverpool in England is a star on and off the field. He is a superstar and Philanthropist. He wears #10 and plays forward for both Liverpool FC and his Senegal national football team. As his national team captain who has made 87 appearances and scored 29 goals since 2012, Mane finally brought glory to his beloved nation. Playing for Liverpool FC since 2016, Mane, who previously played for three different professional teams has made 185 appearances and scored 85 goals for the team. THIS IS ANFIELD, Liverpool’s online site calls Mane “The boy from Bambali and humble genius.”
Mane is indeed a humble genius, Selfless and generous Philanthropist. In 2019, he donated £250,000 to build a school in his hometown of Bambali, Senegal. In 2021, he donated £500,000 towards the construction of a hospital in Banbali.
Mane, called a beautiful man with a heart of gold, also honored Senegal, the region of Sedhiou and all of Casamance, and has carried out several charitable acts in his home town and provided funds to help the fight against Covid-19.Dubbed Football King of Senegal, Mane has awarded the best students of Bambali high school, gave each student a laptop and an amount of 250,000 CFA francs, gave school uniforms, bags, shoes to school children in his home village of Bambali and a large sum of money for their education. Mane even promised to fly some of them out to Universities to study. He also paid for a mosque and sports stadium.
In a photo in which some spotted Mane carrying a cracked iphone 11, many fans wonder why he is not buying a new iphone. Mane didn’t hold back in his response. “I resisted hunger, I worked in the fields, I survived wars, I played football barefoot, I had no education and many more things, but today with what I earn from football, I can help my people. “I built schools, a hospital, we offer clothes, shoes, food to people living in extreme poverty. In addition, I give 70 euros (50,000 F) per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal.” I don’t need to flaunt fancy cars, fancy villas, travel, let alone planes, I’d rather my people get a bit of what life has given me,” he said.
Sadio Mane with his cracked iphone
Mane is also a very humble human being. Those close to him say, despite his star status, he helped offload baggage from the team bus and cleaned toilets in a local mosque. Mane is a class act as well. Moments after scoring the winning penalty kick to win the Africa Cup of Nations for Senegal for the first time in their history, he went over and consoled his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah of Egypt.
Sadio Mane consoling Mohamed Salah
Sadio Mane will have a stadium named after him in his home city of Sedhiou after winning AFCON for Senegal, their first-ever title. This was the first African Cup of Nations to be played in Cameroon since 1972.